Cheers to the Holidays, Wisconsin Style

It's the final week for Savvy Sassy Mom's Holiday Blog Hop, and the topic is Holiday Dranks. Or 'drinks', if you are classy.

Yessssss, you know I love me a cocktail and I'm going to represent my great state of Wisconsin with this one today. It's not in a cute Christmas cup, there aren't holiday berries sitting in front of that glass to make the picture more festive, but this is still an excellent cocktail. It's legit Wisconsin-style: straight-forward, no frills, loved by hearty Mid-westerners, and with plenty of alcohol;)


Now, I'm told that Wisconsin has the highest sales for Brandy more than any other state in the US and that is probably because we make our Old Fashioneds with the good stuff. Not whiskey, which is the standard for an Old Fashioned, but Brandy. And here in Wisconsin, we sure do enjoy our alcoholic beverages, pretty much throughout the marathon of mental endurance that is winter. All six months of it. Hold me.

But really, the Brandy Old Fashioned is a fantastic Christmas drink. A lot of my WI friend say these are the drinks their parents used to make for Thanksgiving and Christmas, so just sniffing the Brandy brings them back to the good old days (or something).

I just made these for a girls night out I hosted and they were a huge hit. I just had to dial back the amount of Brandy that Nate and I usually include in our BOFs to make it more acceptable to the general public, since we tend to make ours eye-twitching strong. I did a post all about our beloved cocktail a few years ago but it's time that I revamp the instructions a bit (hint: we are off the Squirt kick and totally on the 50/50 kick for the mixer).

Ingredients (except not Squirt, 50/50 is my preferred):

Step one: put a little teaspoon of sugar at the bottom of your glass. Sometimes we skip this if we are feeling hard-core and not too sweet.

Step two: Add your bitters. We LOVE that Angostura brand you see above and we are not light on the bitters around here. Maybe a solid 8-9 shakes per glass.

Step three: Fruit! Add one maraschino cherry and an orange slice, peeled. A little cherry juice is alway nice, too.

Step four: Muddle the heck out of it all! We have a real muddler but a kids' wooden block or something would do just fine. I like to smash it up pretty good in there but I don't know that it matters much.


Step five: Add ice cubes. We now have very fancy 'high ball' ice spheres we should use to seem even more grown up.

Step six: Time for Brandy! I don't measure the alcohol here, which could be a problem for some. I think it's supposed to be about a shot but in the dead of Wisconsin winter, you better believe we amp this baby up with Brandy.


Step seven: Soda to mix it up, we just fill to the top of our glasses. I love carbonated drinks so much, so this part is very important to me. If you get a 'Brandy Old Fashioned Sour' in bars, they won't always be carbonated as I think they must use lemon-lime juice to mix. My version here would be more of the 'Sweet' version with soda and if you ask me, it's seriously delicious.


That's it! Enjoy your wintery/Christmas-y beverage with loved ones around the tree, making memories that will last for years to come. Or just have one on a Tuesday night if you dare. I approve;)



  1. YUM! This looks amazing. I've never had an Old Fashioned, but now I want to try one!

  2. Sounds so yummy! Can't wait to try it out! And who measures anymore? ;)

  3. This definitely reminds me of home. I was in a Chicago bar once and they had the courtesy to ask if I wanted it Wisconsin style. If you have it available, you should try orange bitters.

  4. I love this drink! Definitely a Wisconsin thing, along with Brandy slush. :) That was always a staple at our Christmas get-togethers. There's a bar in Madison that makes the BEST old fashioneds!


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